Office Closure due to COVID-19 Virus (Coronavirus)

Following the advice of the Scottish Government, the Association has closed the office to protect our tenants and staff.  This is not a decision that was taken lightly and we have taken steps to minimise as much as we can, any disruption to our tenants.

This is a link to the NHS Covid-19 website.   https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Our staff will therefore be working from home.  Service users will still be able to contact us by telephone, e-mail and letter.    Until further notice, our staff will not be able to carry out home visits.   We would therefore appreciate if tenants could provide us a current telephone number and email for contact purposes.

If you do not already have one, please consider setting up and e-mail account.  This is particularly important if you need to claim Universal Credit.

Repairs Service

Tenants who are self-isolating are advised not to report a repair until the period of self-isolation is over and it is safe to enter your home.

When reporting a repair, tenants will be asked to go through a short series of screening questions which will help to protect tenants and our contractors and hopefully slow down the spread of coronavirus.

At this time, we will still be carrying out all repairs but would respectfully ask tenants not to report non-essential repairs to allow us to prioritise more essential repairs.

Our contractors have asked us to point out the requirement for social distancing when they call at tenants’homes to carry out a repair – this requires maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet from the tradesman.  This measure is to protect tenants as well as the contractor.

We are continuing with any planned maintenance contracts we have ongoing at present.   These are specifically in relation to heating and insulation works.   Our contractors BRB Ltd (heating contract) and Union Technical Services (insulation works) will continue to contact tenants in order to carry out surveys within homes with a view to carrying out the works.   Both contractors have strict working procedures to adhere to before, and during, a home visit.   If you are in a self-isolation or feel vulnerable at this time, please make this known when they contact you and we can put your survey on hold.   We are continuing with works as normal for as long as government guidance allows in order to continue with service delivery to our tenants.

Paying Rent

Tenants should continue paying rent.  We appreciate these are very difficult times but rent is our primary source of income and is crucial to funding the services we provide.

We know that unfortunately, the ongoing situation with Coronavirus may affect household income and if this is the case, tenants should contact us immediately.   We can provide you with advice and information on how to claim Universal Credit.   Please note the following:

An application for Universal Credit can be made to those experiencing a change in circumstances which may affect their income. Universal Credit can help with both daily living expenses and Housing Costs. Our staff can provide you with advice and assistance in relation to making this claim – just call us. Alternatively you can contact Universal Credit directly here: https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit

Universal Credit helpline
Telephone: 0800 328 5644

Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Do you qualify? Use an independent benefits calculator to find out:

  • what benefits you could get
  • how to claim
  • how your benefits will be affected if you start work

These are free to use, anonymous, and have replaced the Benefits Adviser service.

https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators

Statuary Sick pay – Eligibility

If you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you’ll be able to get SSP from the first day. This will begin from 13 March.

To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you must:

  • be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer
  • have been ill for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days)
  • earn an average of at least £118 per week
  • tell your employer you’re sick before their deadline – or within 7 days if they do not have one

Agency workers are also entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.

If you are a new Universal Credit claimant it would be prudent for you to ask for the housing component to be paid directly to us to make sure your rent gets paid.  If you are offered an advance payment, please call us to make a rent payment straight away.  This means you will not fall into rent arrears.

Allpay

If you are unable to get to a pay point to pay your rent, please note the following:

  • Pay online- allpaypayments.net– Add an account-choose a password. You will be asked to add your PRN No. which is the 19 digit number on your payment card. Your housing officer can also supply this number if requested.
  • By Phone – Call 0844 557 8321 ( calls charged at 7p per minute)
  • By Text- Register at allpayments.net/textpay
  • You can telephone your Housing Officer who can take a payment over the telephone or set you up with a direct debit.

If you would rather set up a standing order or direct debit to pay your rent, please contact the Association and we will arrange this for you.  If you do not currently have an Allpay card but would like one, we will arrange this for you.

If you are on Housing Benefit, this will continue to be paid directly to us.  If you are on Universal Credit and we have what is called a “managed payment to landlord” this will continue to be the case.   Please let us know immediately if there are any changes to your circumstances which could affect your Universal Credit.

If you are on Universal Credit, we will have written to you already to advise you how to upload your new rent for the 2020/2021 rents.   If you are not sure how to do this, please let us know.

Any concerns you have about paying your rent, please contact us immediately and we will do what we can to help.

We appreciate that these are very distressing times for all of us and we are committed to providing the best service we possibly can in the circumstances.   The situation with COVID 19 is developing every day and if there are further measures we need to take, we will let you know.

Your co-operation in these trying times is very much appreciated.

Joe Gorman

Chief Executive